Weinergate, Twitter, and marginalized voices: Political sex scandals in a new media environment
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Discourse strongly influences the ways in which ideologies are formed, maintained, and contested, thus the dialogue surrounding political sex scandals may shape the ways in which individuals negotiate their own beliefs and behaviors. Research into political sex scandals is further complicated by the changing nature of interactions within a new media environment, involving numerous voices and perspectives. This research project attempts to look closely at this phenomenon, discovering the cultural discourses surrounding political sex scandals and critiquing the assumptions made therein. The first chapter will explain the importance and significance of the study of political sex scandals. The second chapter will then review the extant literature surrounding the study of political sex scandals, as well as covering gender and sexuality and new media theories. The third chapter describes the multi-methodological approach for the study, detailing a case study for this project. The fourth chapter reviews the rhetorical strategies employed in the political sex scandal, Weinergate. The fifth chapter describes the content analysis of messages about Weinergate sent through the social media website Twitter. The sixth chapter critiques the ideological messages surrounding the Weinergate scandal, specifically as they relate to sex, sexualities, and gender roles. The seventh and final chapter discusses limitations of this project and suggestions for future research.
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